SeptemberSeptember 20102010 vol.70vol.70

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History The Capital Relocation to Heijo-kyo - An Age of Huge Waste and Executive Power

Minoru Senda Professor Emeritus at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies Director of the Prefectural Library and Information Center

In present-day , it is not easy for the government to Discussion has been focused on the relocation of the capital spend taxes on constructing new public facilities, called functions, which is a rather small issue in scale. In this age of hakomono in Japanese. This is because building hakomono globalization, I wonder why there is no discussion about the has been viewed as wasteful tax spending. However, the real significance of having two capitals based on a broader vision problem lies in the fact that many of these facilities have not as in ancient . It would be ideal to make one capital city provided substantial benefits to the public due to a lack of that is a center of international affairs and another one that planning and operational capabilities. In 710, in accordance deals with domestic affairs. It is curious that there has never with the capital relocation to Heijo-kyo, the former capital been any consideration given to the idea of making a structure Fujiwara-kyo in the southern area of the Nara Basin was that balances diplomacy and internal administration just like abandoned after only 16 years as Japan’ s capital. It can be Tenmu did. said that the incident was a far greater waste in scale than Only 16 years after its establishment, Fujiwara-kyo was today's hakomono constructions. A large city, not a large wastefully abandoned. It was not an emperor who led the building, was abandoned to create another city. If this capital relocation but a high-ranking bureaucrat named happened in today’ s Japan, there is no doubt that such a Fujiwara-no-fuhito, who aimed to assume control over the governmental decision would be absolutely rejected by the government by establishing familial ties with the imperial family citizens, and the government would not be able to withstand by having his daughter, Miyako, marry an emperor. After his the criticism. grandson, Obitonomiko, was born to Miyako and Emperor When Prince Ooama won the in 672, he Monmu, Fuhito’ s final objective was to have him take over the ascended the throne and his reign as throne. For the coronation, Fuhito wanted a special stage for started. First, he placed the center of his administration in the Fujiwara family and decided to build a new capital, Asuka-kiyomiharano-miya, located in Asuka. However, he Heijo-kyo, in the northern edge of the Nara Basin. However, enthusiastically stated that he would create multiple capitals , mother of Emperor Monmu and the third and start constructing the first capital in Naniwa. It seemed emperor in Fujiwara-kyo, was against the capital relocation. that he was inspired by the two large capitals, Changan and The reason was simple. Fujiwara-kyo was created by Emperor Louyang, built by the Tang in China. From this Tenmu. On the other hand, Heijo-kyo was a capital built by a perspective, let us look at the present situation in Japan. I senior bureaucrat with a desire to demonstrate his family’ s wonder why the government does not realize and evaluate power. In the end, Empress Genmei accepted the capital the fact that people are souring on the discussions about capital function relocation that are heavily focused on the relocation in 710, though unwillingly. candidate sites. We obviously live in an age of no leadership In this way, Fujiwara-kyo ended its role as a capital after 16 in Japan. years, before it was sufficiently developed as a city. How would When Tenmu declared his intention to have multiple we react if we saw such a situation today? Another huge capitals, there was already a capital in Naniwa, called amount of money was spent building a large city from scratch. Naniwa-nagara-toyosaki-no-miya, which was created by It is likely that the engineers involved in the Fujiwara-kyo Emperor Koutoku after the Reform (also known as the construction were called up again for the Heijo-kyo project. We Revolt of Isshi). Tenmu planned on renewing the capital in can easily imagine their complaints about building another Naniwa as well as building Fujiwara-kyo, a new Chinese-style capital all over again. On the other hand, Naniwa-kyo capital, with the beautiful scenery of the Three Mountains of underwent a renewal. Thus, the double capital system Yamato in the backdrop. It was probably much to Tenmu’ s continued. chagrin that he wasn’ t be able to see the completed capital We cannot easily evaluate the extravagance of the capital before his death. Finally, the capital was relocated from relocation to Heijo-kyo since the ancient political system was Asuka to Fujiwara-kyo by his wife, Empress Jitou. Indeed, totally different from the modern-day system. However, critics two capitals – one in Naniwa and another in Yamato – today view things only within the scope of over-concentration in co-existed. The main capital was Fujiwara-kyo, while Tokyo. When it comes to our national land system, they state Naniwa-kyo with the port of Naniwazu played a role as the repeatedly the necessity of implementing local sovereignty, for national hub of water transport. The two capitals were example through “Doshu-sei,” and do not try to know opinions established with a balance between political and diplomatic of the people outside of Tokyo. When I compare the current objectives. situation with the capital relocation of Heijo-kyo, and when I Going back to the capital relocation of Japan today, I think realize that there is no one who can talk about the national land the issue reached a deadlock after it was replaced with the with political, administrative and executive power, I feel despair issue of local area revitalization. rather than disappointment. 1 Related Information Ancient Capital Location Map ( Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Historical material No.57 )

2 Related Information Capital Relocations in Asuka and

Year Capital Relocation Emperor Reign

the 35th Kogyoku 642 - 645

645 Taika Reform (Revolt of Isshi)

Relocated to Naniwanagaratoyosaki the 36th Kotoku 645 - 654

the 37th Saimei 655 - 661

Relocated to Otsu in the 38th 668 - 671

the 39th Kobun 672 - 672

672 Jinshin War the 40th Tenmu 673 - 686

Relocated to Asukanokiyomihara

694 Relocated to Fujiwara-kyo the 41st Jito 690 - 697

the 42nd Monmu 697 - 707

the 43rd Genmei 710 Relocated to Heijo-kyo 707 - 715

the 44th Gensho 715 - 724

724 the 45th Shomu 624 - 749

Visitors Bureau Nara Prefecture Tourism Information Yamato-ji Archive Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

Contact Information:

Capital Functions Relocation Planning Division National and Regional Planning Bureau Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism E-Mail: [email protected] Phone: +81-3-5253-8366 FAX.: +81-3-5253-1573

3 Interviews with the Head of the Economic Sector of the Embassy of Brazil in Japan (June 14, 2010) Embassy Visit & Interview The Past, Present and Future of Brasilia and the 50th Anniversary of the Capital Relocation

Mr. Eduardo Teixeira Souza Secretary, Head of the Economic Sector The Embassy of Brazil in Japan

Purpose for and Process of Relocating the Capital to Brasilia

Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the capi- Secondly, there was a need to distribute the population, tal relocation from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia. First, which was concentrated in the coastal area, to the inland we would like to know what kind of purpose the capi- areas. The third purpose was to develop inland areas through tal relocation served. We hear that the capital was promoting civil engineering works and agriculture in Cerrado relocated to improve the inland region and to (bush prairie) by moving the labor force. Cerrado is also balance the development of the whole country. called the Savanna of Brazil. Its soil was very fertile, but the land needed to be improved for agricultural purposes. In this respect, Japanese immigrants have made considerable In fact, the plan to relocate the capital to Brasilia was made contributions. back in the 18th century when Brazil was still a Portuguese We can say that all the original purposes of the capital colony. In the 19th century, a group of researchers, includ- relocation have been achieved. Today Brasilia has a popula- ing geologists, was dispatched to the candidate areas to tion of 2.5 million and is the third-largest city in Brazil in the find the best place for the new capital. Finally, the capital sense of economy size. Per-capita income has reached relocation was executed by Juscelino Kubitschek, who 20,000 US dollars and the education level of the city is the became president in 1956. highest in the nation. In addition, Brasilia has become the During the 1950s, Brazil had just begun to be industrial- center of cultural activities such as movies, the arts and ized, so the capital relocation got off the ground fairly architecture. People from many different cultures gather in smoothly. The relocation work started in 1955 and was the city, not only from other areas of the country but from almost completed by 1960. It took only about five years to other South American countries. Brasilia is a city where a move the capital. variety of people express their ideas to seek better opportuni- The first and the biggest goal of the capital relocation was ties. to establish Brazil’s identity. Brazil consists of multiple In the early days after the capital relocation, many people ethnic groups. The old capital, Rio de Janeiro, was influ- who worked in Brasilia used to return to their hometowns, enced very strongly by Portugal. For the unification of a such as Rio de Janeiro, on weekends. Today this is no longer multi-ethnic population, it was essential for the country to common. Even people who have just started working in build a single city that could symbolize the nation and its Brasilia seldom return to their hometowns. Brasilia has grown citizens. to become a city where many people want to live perma- nently.

What was the reason why the capital relocation was completed in such a short , just five years? Another reason for the short-term completion was the fact that the construction was executed during a period of strong economic growth in Brazil. At that time, Brazil’s real I can say it was largely because of the leadership of Presi- economic growth rate was 8 to 10% annually. The dent Kubitschek (*1). economic dynamism supported the capital relocation Mr. Kubitschek was extremely charismatic. As legend project. goes, he captured everyone’s heart with his magnetic charm. I think his charm was a big driving force for the (*1) President Juscelino Kubitschek, the 22nd president of Federa- tive Republic of Brazil, was born into a family of Czech immigrants. project. In Brazil, there is a legend saying President He was elected as the president in 1955 and was in office for five Kubitschek was the reincarnation of a Pharaoh of ancient years beginning on January 31, 1956. He aggressively promoted Egypt and Brasilia is the reincarnation of the ancient Egyp- the construction of the new capital, Brasilia with the slogan tian city Akhenaton. “achieve 50 years of progress in five years.”

Wasn’t there any financial difficulty in carrying out the capital relocation? As I mentioned before, the1950s were a period of rapid However, along the line, the government needed financing. growth for Brazil; therefore, the country could generate There were arguments about borrowing money to build a enough cash flow and could self-finance the basic new city, but ultimately, the country received loans from the construction. World Bank and private financial institutions.

4 Effects on Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo How did the capital relocation affect the former capital, Rio de Janeiro, and the largest business city, Sao Paulo? Also, how did the people in those two cities evaluate the capital relocation?

In the case of Rio de Janeiro, when it lost its position as a capital, various city plan- ning projects were called off. Rio is a major city both commercially and industrially, but today it has various problems as a result of losing those planned developments. On the other hand, Sao Paulo benefited from the capital relocation to Brasilia. In connection with the capital relocation, there were a variety of investments, and many investors were companies based in Sao Paolo. However, it was not Sao Paulo that received the greatest benefit from the capital relocation. Belo Horizonte in the State of Minas Gerais and Goiania, the capital of the State of Goias, were the two cities that achieved the most development through midland developments. For Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Goiania functioned as strategic bases for supplying people, building materials, steel, machinery, food and more. Particularly, it is well known that the surrounding areas of Belo Horizonte hold the largest iron resources in the nation. Furthermore, the capital relocation strongly encouraged people to migrate from the coast to inland regions. As a result, the central plateau in Brazil grew into a dynamic center in Brazil. Today, Belo Horizonte (population:2.5 million), and Goiania (population: 1.5 million) enjoy the highest level of development in Brazil. Also, Campo Grande (population: 750,000) and Cuiaba (population: 600,000) devel- oped vastly with the capital relocation. These developments, seen in the 1950s and the 1960s, are regarded as Brazil’s version of the exploration of the West that happened in the late 1800s in America.

Brazil won the right to host the 2016 Olympic Today, there are various plans to revitalize all blocks of Rio, Games(*2). Did Brazil’s efforts toward hosting the and the Olympics are connected to those plans. In down- Olympics in Rio de Janeiro aim at the reconstruction town Rio, there are buildings that are over 200 years old of Rio? and show the influences of Portugal and France. But they are currently in danger of falling down. Along with the Actually, there is a grand plan to revitalize Rio de Janeiro. Olympic-related projects, there are plans to rebuild such Rio represents Brazil. It is probably the first city that comes buildings. up many people’s minds when they hear about Brazil. How- (*2) The 2016 Olympic Games: Rio de Janeiro was selected as the ever, Rio fell into a very difficult situation because there host city of the 31st Summer Olympic Games in 2016. It will be the were not any major city planning projects for over 20 years. first time the Olympic Games are held in South America.

Can you tell us about the transportation between Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo? There are also many people who take a day trip to Brasilia from the other two cities. The three cities are also connected by overland routes with roads of two to three There is a large amount of human traffic between Brasilia, lanes. There are also many bus routes. It is our dream to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Generally, people travel by travel between Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo by air since these cities are about 1,200 km apart. bullet train

Development of the Area Surrounding Brasilia

What is the present situation of Brasilia’s satellite Brazil’s current biggest challenge is to provide a means of cities? transportation from the satellite cities to Brasilia. Further- more, Brazil still has a number of people who are unable to be a part of society without receiving support from the Brasilia’s central area is called Plano Piloto (pilot plan) government. area. Around the area, there are 15 to 16 satellite cities. In the late 1990s, the income disparity among people Each of them has different characteristics. For example, increased the risk of social unrest. In the past ten years, there is a city called Taguatinga with a population of about about 30 million people were able to move up from the 500,000. This city’s commercial development is distin- impoverished class to the lower-middle class or even to the guished. On the other hand, Ceilandia, with a population of middle class. This was made possible by the social policies about 300,000, is a city where extremely poor people live. that were created in the time of the former president Water supply and sewage systems have just been fully Cardoso. Due to these policies, the disparity has been implemented in the city with help from the government. eased in recent years.

5 Can you tell us about future development projects for the The income level of the people who live in the area is fairly surrounding areas of Brasilia? high. They have potential in business sectors such as biotechnology research and commercial aviation industry Currently, the development of the area that connects development. There are aerospace-related industries in a Goiania and Brasilia is on the table as a project to take city called Anapolis. Brazil is considering high-tech devel- place in the next 15 years. The population of these two opment in the area connecting the two cities as a goal for cities and the vicinity is about 4.5 million. the next 15 years.

People’s Recognition Level of Brasilia

What do you think about people’s recognition level of Brasilia in Brazil and overseas?

In my personal opinion, the recognition level of Brasilia Many architectural structures in the city show strong influ- among the general public in Brazil is extremely low. Topics ences of Le Corbusier or of Bauhaus, an art institute at the of Brasilia-related news are almost all political and adminis- center of German architecture in the early 20th century. trative. Brasilia is a dynamic city and has many cultural activities, but that image has not reached many people in the country. About 2.5 million Brazilians visit Brasilia each (*3) The Athens Charter: A city planning and construction principle year, and the majority of the visitors are on business. There that was adopted in 1933 at the meeting of the International are few tourists in Brasilia. Most foreigners who come to Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM), an international confer- Brazil visit the Amazon or the coast area. Brasilia has only ence for architects. The subject, the functional city, was discussed about 250,000 visitors from overseas annually. As a matter at the meeting based on the ideas that Le Corbusier (an architect of fact, many foreigners who visit Brasilia are interested in who engaged in functional, practical and universal design projects architecture. Brasilia was built based on the philosophy of through a new technology using steel frame and reinforced the Athens Charter (*3). concrete buildings) advocated.

Can you think of any problems that Brasilia currently Today, the center of Brasilia, called the Plano Piloto area, faces? is a UNESCO cultural heritage site. But within 30 to 40 kilometers, there are satellite cities that have serious One problem is that Brasilia has grown much bigger than issues in terms of infrastructure, education or public secu- originally planned. As far as the original plan, the predicted rity. Since the central area of Brasilia is very rich, there is a population in 2000 was 600,000. However, the population remarkable income gap between the satellite cities and the of the whole Federal District of Brasilia including its satellite central area. cities has reached 2.6 million.

Can you tell us about the charms of Brasilia? Also, how should Brasilia change in the future? My greatest dream is to see Japanese-made bullet trains What attracts me most is that Brasilia gives everyone a running in Brazil. Bidding for the project will start soon. sense of freedom. People come to Brasilia from every Because of financial issues, the General Auditor’s Office is corner of Brazil and the world. The city provides all of them currently reviewing a number of factors. Since 2010 is an a chance to establish an identity. Including religious activi- election year for Brazil, I think the government is trying to ties, people can choose a free-wheeling lifestyle in all find the best timing. The expectation of the introduction of aspects. I think it is appealing. I personally want Brasilia to bullet trains and high-speed railways is growing extremely adopt a subway system like Tokyo’s. Brasilia’s public trans- high in the country. It will start with the route between Rio portation system has much room for improvement. It would de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. But connecting all major cities be very useful to have a subway system like Tokyo. with bullet trains is our big goal for the future.

Brazil planned its capital relocation for over 200 years. And 50 years have passed since the capital relocation took place in 1960. Do you think the capi- It was significant for Brazil to create its own national iden- tal relocation from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia was tity by overcoming the influences of countries such as Portugal, France and the United States. Brasilia’s city successful in terms of results? structure is uniquely Brazilian, although it has partially I can say that the capital relocation to Brasilia was abso- adopted the architectural style of other countries, such as lutely necessary. I think that the relocation project was France. For a young county like Brazil to establish its iden- essential in terms of establishing the national identity. It tity, the construction of the new capital Brasilia was a must. was beyond mere economic factors or infrastructure issues I believe that no one questions the construction of Brasilia of the country. today.

6 Japan and the Relocation of Capital Functions in Japan Tell us about your impression of Japan and your In Brasilia’s case, the government raised national aware- thoughts about the relocation of capital functions in ness by conducting surveys on construction designs or Japan. holding competitions for urban planning ideas. I think it is essential to involve people in discussions that way. As far It has been a year and a half since I came to Japan. I like as I have learned by traveling in Japan, Japanese people Japan very much. I think Japan is a great country. In the seem to be very interested in eco-tourism, so I think adding case of relocating the capital functions in Japan, it is impor- such an element would be an effective way to evoke their tant that the government provide people with sufficient interest. I hope that Japan will realize a new city utilizing its information. superb cutting-edge technologies.

DD Wave / Embassy of Brazil Contact Information:

Capital Functions Relocation Planning Division National and Regional Planning Bureau Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism E-Mail: [email protected] Phone: +81-3-5253-8366 FAX.: +81-3-5253-1573

7 Parliament Buildings around the World

Design Representation

Federative Republic of Brazil (Brasilia)

Design Represents the Characteristics of Each Legislative Branch The National Congress Buildings in Brasilia were designed by Oscar Niemeyer, a renowned Brazilian architect specializing in modern architecture. Viewed from the front, the downward half- sphere building on the left is the Senate and the upward half- sphere on the right is the Chamber of Deputies. In between, there are two vertical office towers containing the congress headquar- ters. According to Mr. Niemeyer, he designed the Senate building to express its conservative nature and the Chamber of Deputies building to express its openness to people’s voices and new ideas. It is said that there is no other parliament building in the world that represents the characteristics of congress.

The National Congress Building of Brazil

Republic of Palau (Melekeok) A Parliament Building to Symbolize the Country The white, Western-style parliament building in Melekeok is called the “White House” just like the President’s office in the United States. After independence in 1994, Palau asked an archi- tectural firm in the U.S. to make some design proposals for its congress building. The design ideas included traditional Microne- sian style that received considerable support. However, after much discussion, the country chose a design that is widely adopted in the West with an aim to present Palau to the world as an independent nation with principles of “civilization, democracy and freedom.” *This article was created with the cooperation of Minoru F.X. Ueki, Ambas- sador of the Republic of Palau in Japan. We wish to express our cordial gratitude to him. (An article about visiting the Embassy of Palau will be in the “Embassy Visit & Interview” section of New Era Vol. 71.) Parliament Building of Palau

Contact Information:

Capital Functions Relocation Planning Division National and Regional Planning Bureau Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism E-Mail: [email protected] Phone: +81-3-5253-8366 FAX.: +81-3-5253-1573

8 Relocation of Capital Functions around the World

The Capital Relocations Realized by Strong Leadership Federative Republic of Brazil (Brasilia) President Kubitschek regarded as “the reincarnation of a pharaoh of ancient Egypt” Surprisingly, the capital relocation to Brasilia was completed just five years after construction began. This great accomplishment was due to the strong determination of President Kubitschek, who came into office in 1956, that the capital relocation would be com- pleted during his term, with the slogan “Achieve 50 years of prog- ress in five years.” The capital relocation was supported by Brazil’s strong economy at that time, but there is no doubt that the charis- matic president and his strong leadership made it possible. The charm of Mr. Kubitschek must have driven the people who worked on the project to attain this great achievement. Mr. Kubitschek, regarded as “the reincarnation of a pharaoh of ancient Egypt,” is still called JK and is well-liked by people in Brasilia. Besides achieving the capital relocation in such a short time, it should also be noted that he created a capital with an outstanding design designated as a World Heritage site. Today, Brasilia has grown to be a city with a population of over 2.5 million that enjoys not only economic wealth but flourishing cultural activities. There is no doubt that the capital’s prosperity was realized through Mr. Kubitschek’s aggressive promotion of the capital relocation as well as his obsession with the capital’s landscape.

© Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan *This article was created with the cooperation of Mr. Eduardo Teixeira Souza, Secretary and Head of the Economic Sector of the Embassy of Brazil in Japan. We wish to express our cordial gratitude to him. (An article about visiting the Embassy of Brazil and interviewing with Mr. Souza is in the “Embassy Visit & Interview” section of New Era Vol. 70.)

Republic of Palau (Melekeok) Capital Relocation Accelerated by President Nakamura The capital of the Republic of Palau was officially relocated on October 1, 2006 from Koror on Koror Island to Melekeok on Babeld- aob Island. Prior to the relocation, about 65% of the country’s popu- lation (approx. 20,000) lived in Koror under overcrowded condi- tions. After World War Two, Palau was under U.S. rule as one of the UN's trust territories in the Pacific Islands. The self-ruled govern- ment that was inaugurated in 1981 formulated a constitution in which relocation of the capital was stipulated. The new capital was supposed to be decided within 10 years of the ratification of the constitution. The government finally chose Melekeok, approxi- mately 30 kilometers from Koror. The United States extended two million dollars in economic aid to Palau, and the Melekeok local government provided land for the new capital project. Under these circumstances, President Nakamura, a descendant of Japanese immigrants, came into office in 1993 and issued a presidential order to accelerate the capital relocation. In 1994, Mr. Nakamura estab- lished a capital relocation advisory committee to decide on the design of the parliament building, on which construction began in 1998 following the adoption of the 1996 National Capital Construc- tion Law. The parliament building was completed in 2001 and the capital was officially relocated in 2006. © Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan *This article was created with the cooperation of Minoru F.X. Ueki, Ambassador of the Republic of Palau in Japan. We wish to express our cordial gratitude to him. (An article about visiting the Embassy of Palau will be in the “Embassy Visit & Interview” section of New Era Vol. 71.)

Contact Information:

Capital Functions Relocation Planning Division National and Regional Planning Bureau Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism E-Mail: [email protected] Phone: +81-3-5253-8366 FAX.: +81-3-5253-1573

9 Regional Information

Major Activities in Local Regions Regarding the Relocation of the Diet and Other Organizations Fukushima Prefecture Representatives of the tri-area* liaison conference for the relocation of capital functions visited the House of Representatives, the House of Councilors and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism on March 17, 2010, to collect information about the current situation of the conference committee of each house in regards to the relocation of the Diet and other organizations as well as about the schedule of future confer- ences. (*Tochigi/Fukushima Area, Gifu/Aichi Area, and Mie/Kiou Region)

Other Topics Nara Prefecture (the1300th anniversary of capital relocation to Heijokyo) In Nara Prefecture, as 2010 began, the 1300th anniversary of capital relocation to Heijokyo started. Since April 24, 2010, a variety of events have been held at the historic site of Heijo Palace. The reconstruction of the first Daigokuden has been completed. Visitors can see the building’s engineering and experience the culture of ancient times. At the Heijokyo History Museum, virtual reality images including the spectacular capital of Heijokyo and the voyages of Kentoshi (imperial missions to China) are shown using the latest VR technology. A replica of the Kentoshi vessel is also exhibited. At the Heijokyo Experience Center, visitors can experience a simulated archeological excavation and wear ancient costumes. The autumn Heijokyo fair will begin October 9, 2010. On November 7, the last day, visitors can participate in a celebration carnival which is the closing event of the fair. Aside from these events, Nara has much more to offer. For details, visit the website of the Association for Commemorative Events of the 1300th Anniversary of Nara Heijokyo Capital

The First Daigokuden Kentoshi Vessel Mie Prefecture (Friendship with Republic of Palau) The 1981 constitution of the Republic of Palau clearly stated that after putting a temporary capital in Koror, a permanent capital would be built on Babeldaob Island within 10 years. However, the plan was neglected for a long time. In 1999, former president Kunio Nakamura created a capital relocation plan, and finally the capital was relocated from Koror to Melekeok (Babeldaob Island) on October 1, 2006, 25 years after the constitution was ratified. Mr. Nakamura, whose father was from Ominato of Ise City, visited Mie Prefecture even before the independence of Palau, including a visit to the Governor in August 1993. In October 1994, soon after indepen- dence, he revisited Mie Prefecture with a folk dance company from Palau to participate in the festival “Matsuri Mie ‘94”, which contributed to the success of the event and deepened the friendship between Mie and Palau. The two regions, both in rich marine environments, had had a close relationship since the Taisho era. On July 25, 1996, a delegation from the Republic of Palau and President Nakamura visited Mie to sign a friendly coali- tion agreement.

Contact Information:

Capital Functions Relocation Planning Division National and Regional Planning Bureau Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism E-Mail: [email protected] Phone: +81-3-5253-8366 FAX.: +81-3-5253-1573